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Archive of August 5, 2013

Ken Hackett approved as America's next Vatican ambassador

Rome, Italy, Aug 5, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - After a vacancy of nearly one year, the U.S. Senate approved the former head of Catholic Relief Services, Ken Hackett, to serve as the country’s new Ambassador to the Holy See.

“We are overjoyed that the country will be represented by a man who through his decades of service has demonstrated his commitment to the dignity and sanctity of life and fighting global poverty,” said Dr. Carolyn Woo, who succeeded Hackett as president and CEO of the U.S. bishops’ relief organization.

Woo added in her Aug. 2 statement that the charity looks “forward to working with the new ambassador as he engages the Vatican and Pope Francis towards the common goal of advancing peace and justice in the world.”

Hackett was nominated by President Obama on June 14, 2013 to serve as the 10th ambassador to the Vatican, and the Senate approved him unanimously in an Aug. 1 evening session. He will be taking over from Miguel H. Diaz, who left the diplomatic post in Nov. 2012 to become the Professor of Faith and Culture at the University of Dayton.

Hackett brings a lifetime of relief work to his new post, starting with a 1968-1971 stint with the Peace Corps in Ghana, which was followed by 40 years of service with Catholic Relief Services.

In an Aug. 2 interview with The Catholic Review, Hackett reflected on how he will be going from representing the Catholic Church in the U.S. to advocating for the entire country and what the difference will be.

“I thought about that a lot. There will be times where the position of the (Obama) administration differs, obviously, from the Holy See, but I am going to look for, as many of my predecessors did, those opportunities where we can come together and find strength in collaboration, coincidence of interests,” he told the Baltimore archdiocese’s paper.

Hackett believes there are “some powerful connections” between the priorities of the U.S. government and the Church that could “really make a difference” if they are promoted.

One area where he already sees some synergy with the country’s priorities is in Pope Francis’ approach to highlighting the “issues of poverty and injustice and so many social issues.”

During a July 30 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Hackett also listed fighting human trafficking and environmental advocacy as other shared interests.

Hackett is expected to arrive in Rome to take up his post later this month.
 

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Winning pro-life contest photos will be shown to Pope

Rome, Italy, Aug 5, 2013 (CNA) - The winning photos of the contest “Life…in HD,” which is being organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family, will be projected for Pope Francis this October in Rome.

The Vatican office announced the event on its website, inviting young people to “Become Pope Francis’ photographer” in a “photo competition for teens on the occasion of the Pilgrimage of the Families.”

Teens between the ages of 12 and 18 are invited to participate in the contest by telling “in a photo for Pope Francis what it means to live life to its fullest.”

Photos can be submitted through the office’s Facebook page throughout October 15, 2013.

“The most beautiful and meaningful ones will be selected for a projection in the presence of Pope Francis,” organizers said.

They will be displayed for the Pope during the Pilgrimage of the Families October 26 and 27 in Rome.

The Pontifical Council for the Family can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/PontificiumConsiliumproFamilia.

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Conference calls for spiritual preservation of Way of St. James

Madrid, Spain, Aug 5, 2013 (CNA) - The spiritual meaning of the Way of St. James pilgrimage must not be reduced to a mere touristic and ecological route, said a Spanish agency charged with promoting the Church's cultural heritage.

The ancient pilgrimage route was discussed during a recent meeting of the National Conference of Cultural Heritage of the Church, which is composed of bishops, Spanish national heritage officials and other advisors.

They recognized that the nearly 500-mile path to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain is popular as a touristic and ecological route because of the historical and artistic works and the beautiful scenery it contains.

However, viewing the pilgrimage route merely in these terms “would be to strip the pilgrimage of its main spiritual element: we would mutilate it and leave it without authentic meaning,” conference members cautioned.

The experience of the Way is a treasure of great value that includes the propagation and celebration of the faith, the exercise of charity, familiarity with the artistic styles of the history of the Church in Spain, appreciation of local customs and more, they said.

All of these aspects are “like signs that lead us towards a goal, the life of grace to which all men are called.”

The very concept of pilgrimage has a deep spiritual meaning that is reinforced through the sensory experience of the pilgrim, they added.

“Throughout the Way, art makes visible to us what we will one day see clearly at the end of our pilgrimage, reinforcing in us interiorly the faith of the pilgrim Church in the world.”

The Way of St. James can become an experiential school, in which architecture speaks of the presence of God, interaction with neighbor fosters charity and the visual surroundings point to the invisible, the agency members continued.

“The Way becomes like a beatific vision of salvation,” they said, as well as “an instrument for the New Evangelization through being a living element in our journey of faith.”

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Full transcript of Pope's in-flight press remarks released

Vatican City, Aug 5, 2013 (CNA) - Amid a flurry of media reaction, the Vatican has released a full transcript of the remarks Pope Francis made to journalists while on a flight back to Rome from Rio de Janeiro's World Youth Day.

During this nearly 90-minute discussion with the press on July 28, the Pope answered questions on a wide variety of issues, including curial reform, the Vatican Bank, Benedict XVI, relations with the Orthodox, and the spirituality of the Society of Jesus.

The comments which received the most attention, however, were those involving the place of women in the Church, the Church's attitude towards those with same-sex attraction, as well as the “gay lobby” at the Vatican.

Below, CNA has also provided a full translation of the pontiff's remarks which include helpful endnotes for English-speaking readers explaining possibly-obscure references.

Pope Francis' press conference during the papal flight on Sunday, July 28, 2013:

Father Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
Now, dear friends, we have the joy of having with us on this return flight, the Holy Father Francis. He’s been kind enough to give us a lengthy amount of time to make an assessment of the trip with us and respond to your questions with total liberty. I give him the floor for a small introduction and then we’ll begin with the list of those who registered to speak and we’ll select them from different national and linguistic groups. Now, to you, Holiness, a word to start.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
Good evening and thank you so much. I am content. It’s been a good trip. Spiritually, it’s been good for me. I’m rather tired, but with a happy heart. And, I am [doing] well... well. It did me good spiritually.

Meeting people is good for you because the Lord works in each one of us. He works in the heart, and the richness of the Lord is so great that we can always receive so many good things from others. And this is good for me.. This, as a first assessment.

Then, I would say that the kindness, the heart of the Brazilian people is great. It’s true, it’s great. It is such a kind people, a people that loves celebration, that even in suffering always finds a way to seek the good someplace.

And this is good. It is a happy people, the people that has suffered much!

The joy of Brazilians is contagious. It’s contagious! And it has a huge heart, this people.

Then I would say of the organizers, from our part as well as that of the Brazilians – but I felt I was before of a computer, an incarnated computer - but truly, everything went like clockwork, didn’t it? But [it was] wonderful. Then we had problems with the hypothesis of [the] security [presence]. Security here and there. There wasn’t an incident in all of Rio de Janeiro in these days, and everything was spontaneous.

With less security, I was able to be with the people, to embrace them, to greet them, without armored cars... It’s the security of trusting a people. It’s true that there is always the danger that there might be a madman there. Yes, that there might be a madman who does something, but there is also the Lord! But, to put an armored space between the Bishop and the people is madness, and I prefer this madness: [to be] outside and to run the risk of the other madness. I prefer this madness, [of being] outside. Closeness is good for everyone.

Then, the organization of the [World Youth] Day, nothing specific, but everything. The artistic part, the religious part, the catechetical part, the liturgical part … it was very beautiful!

They have a [real] capacity to express themselves in art. Yesterday, for example, they did beautiful, beautiful things!

Then, Aparecida. (1) Aparecida is for me a strong religious experience. I remember the Fifth Conference. I was there to pray... to pray. I wanted to go alone, a bit hidden, but there was an impressive crowd! But, it isn't possible [to be hidden]. I knew that before I arrived. And we prayed, we [did].

I don’t know … one thing … but also from you. Your work was, I’m told ... I didn’t read the newspapers over the course of these days. I didn’t have the time. I didn't watch TV, nothing, but I’m told that it was really good work!

Thank you, thanks for your collaboration. Thank you for having done this.

Then, the number, the number of young people. Today – I can’t believe it – but today the Governor spoke of three million. I can’t believe it. But [what I saw] from the altar, that’s true!  I don’t know if you, some of you were at the altar. From the altar, at the end, the entire beach was full all the way to the curve, more than four kilometers.

But, [there were] so many young people. And they say, Archbishop Tempesta (2) told me, they were from 178 countries. 178! The Vice-President also gave me this number. That’s certain. It’s important! Huge!

Father Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
Thank you. Now, we'll give the floor first to Juan de Lara, who is from the EFE [news agency]. And, he's a Spaniard, and it’s the last trip he'll be making with us, so we are happy to give him this opportunity.

Juan de Lara: (Originally in Spanish)
Holiness, good evening. On behalf of all our colleagues, we want to thank you for these days you've given us in Rio de Janeiro, the work you have done, and the effort it has taken. And, also in the name of all the Spanish journalists, we want to thank you for your prayers for the victims of the train accident in Santiago de Compostela. Thank you very much.

And, the first question, it doesn’t have much to do with the trip, but we are taking advantage of the occasion that gives us this possibility, and I wanted to ask you, Holiness, in these four months of pontificate we've seen you create several commissions to reform the Vatican Curia. I would like to ask you, what type of reform do you have in mind? Do you contemplate the possibility of suppressing the IOR, the so-called Vatican Bank? Thank you.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Spanish)
The steps I have been taking in these four-and-a-half months, come from two streams or sources: the content of what had to be done all comes from the source of the General Congregations that we cardinals had.

They were things that we cardinals asked from he who would be the new Pope.

I remember that I asked for many things, thinking of someone else. That is, we were asking, this has to be done … for instance, the commission of eight cardinals, we know that it’s important to have an outside consultation, not the consultations that are held, but from the outside.

And this goes in the line – [and] here I make a sort of abstraction, thinking, though, to explain it – in the line, increasingly of the maturation of the relation between synodality and Primacy.

That is, these eight cardinals favor synodality. They are helping the different episcopates of the world to express themselves in the very governance of the Church. There are many proposals that were made, which haven't yet been put into practice, such as the reform of the Secretariat of the Synod, in the methodology such as the post-synodal commission which has a permanent character of consultation, such as the cardinals’ consistories with topics that aren’t so formal - as, for example, canonization -, but also themes, etcetera.

Well, the source of the contents comes from there.

The second source is the opportunity. I’ll confess to you, it wasn’t hard for me, at the one-month mark of the pontificate, to form the commission of the eight cardinals, which is one thing …
 
I thought I’d address the financial part next year, because it’s not the most important thing that needed to be touched on.

However, the agenda changed due to the circumstances that you are aware of, which are in the public domain, and the problems appeared and they had to be addressed.

The first, the problem of the IOR, or rather, how to steer it, how to chart its course, how to reformulate it, how to heal what has to be healed. And there is the first Reference Commission. That is its name.

You know the chirograph, (3) what it asks, the members and everything.

Afterward, we had the meeting of the commission of the fifteen cardinals who have responsibility for the economic aspects of the Holy See. They are from all over the world.

And there, preparing for that meeting, we saw the need to establish one single reference commission for all the economy of the Holy See. That is, the financial problem was brought up aside from the agenda, but these things happen when in the office of government, right?

One goes (in this direction), but there's a great shot on goal from over there and one must block it, isn’t that right? So, this is life and that's what is beautiful about life, as well. I’ll repeat the question you asked me about the IOR, sorry, I’m speaking in Spanish. Sorry … the answer came to me in Spanish.

[Continues in Italian]
In reference to that question you asked me about the IOR, I don’t know how the IOR will end up. Some say that, perhaps, it’s best that it be a bank, others that it be an aid fund, others say to close it. Mah! [Italian exclamation equivalent to "Who knows?!" or "But, anyway!" or “Well!”] These voices are being heard.

I don’t know. I trust the work of the people of the IOR who are working on this, also [that] of the Commission. The President of the IOR remains, the same one who was there before. But the Director and the Vice-Director resigned.

But this, I cannot tell you how this story will end, and this is good also because you find... you seek. We are human, in this; we must find the best. But, this yes. But the characteristics of the IOR - be it a bank, be it an aid fund, be it whatever it may be - [must be] transparent and honest. This must be so. Thank you.

Father Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
Many thanks, Holiness. So, we now pass to one of the representatives of the Italian group, and we have one whom you know well: Andrea Tornielli, who is coming up to ask you a question on behalf of the Italian group.

Andrea Tornielli: (Originally in Italian)
Holy Father, I have a question that is, perhaps, somewhat indiscreet. When we left, the photograph went around the world of you going up the steps of the plane carrying a black bag. And, there were articles throughout the world that commented on this novelty. Yes, of the Pope going up ... it [had] never happened, that is, the Pope [had never] boarded with his own hand luggage. Now, there were even theories about what the black bag may have contained. So, my questions are, one, why did you carry your black bag and why was it not carried by a collaborator? And, two, could you tell us what was inside? Thank you.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
It didn’t have the key for the atomic bomb! Mah! I was carrying it because I’ve always done so. When I travel, I carry it.

What's inside? There's the razor, there's the Breviary, there's the agenda, there's a book to read. I took one on Saint Therese [of Lisieux] to whom I am devoted.

I have always gone with the bag when I travel. It’s normal. But we have to be normal.  I don’t know. What you are saying is a bit strange for me, that that photo has gone around the world. But we have to get used to being normal, the normality of life. I don’t know, Andrea, if I answered you.

Father Lombardi:  (Originally in Italian)
So now we give the floor to a representative of the Portuguese language, Aura Miguel, who is from Radio Renascença.

Aura Miguel: (Originally in Italian)
Holiness, I wanted to ask you why you ask so insistently that we pray for you? It’s not normal, usual, to hear a Pope ask so much to pray for him.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
I’ve always asked for this. When I was a priest, I asked for it, but not so frequently. I began to ask for it more often in my work as Bishop because I feel that if the Lord doesn’t help in this work of helping the People of God to move ahead, one can’t …

I truly feel I have so many limitations, so many problems, [I'm] also a sinner. You know it! And, I must ask this. But, it comes from the inside! I also ask Our Lady to pray for me to the Lord. It’s a habit, but it’s a habit that comes from my heart and also from the need I have for my work. I feel that I have to ask. I don’t know. That's how it is.

Father Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
Now we move on to the English language group. And, we give the floor to our colleague Pullella of Reuters, who is here in the front.

Philip Pullella:(Originally in Italian)
Holiness, on behalf of the English group thank you for your availability. Our colleague, de Lara, has already asked the question we wanted to ask, so I’ll proceed a bit along those lines. Little, though. You… in seeking to make these changes, I remember that you said to the Latin American group that there are so many saints that work in the Vatican, but also persons who are a little less saintly, right? Have you found resistance to this desire of yours to change things in the Vatican? Have you found resistance? The second question is, you live in a very austere world, you have stayed in Santa Marta, etcetera. Do you want your collaborators, also the Cardinals, to follow this example and perhaps live in community, or is it something just for you?

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
The changes … the changes come also from two sources, that which we cardinals requested, and that which comes from my personality. You spoke of the fact that I have stayed at Santa Marta: but I couldn’t live alone in the Palace, and it’s not luxurious. The papal apartment isn’t so luxurious! It’s large, big, but it is not luxurious. But, I can’t live alone or with a small group! I need people, to meet people, to speak with people.

And because of this the kids from the Jesuit schools [in a June 7 encounter with them] asked me: “Why do you do it? For austerity? For poverty?” No, no. For psychiatric reasons, simply, because I can’t do it psychologically.

Everyone must carry his life forward, with his way of living, of being. The cardinals who work in the curia do not live as rich men and lavishly. They live in an apartment. They are austere. They are austere, those that I know. [They have] the apartments that the APSA (4) gives to the cardinals. Also, it seems to me there is something else I would like to say. Each person must live as the Lord asks him to live. But austerity, a general austerity, I think is necessary for all of us who work in the service of the Church. There are so many shades of austerity. Each person must find his own path.

As far as the saints, this is true, there are saints. Cardinals, priests, bishops, sisters, lay people, people who pray, people who work so hard, and also who go to the poor, in private. I know of some who are concerned with feeding the poor and then, in their free time, go to do their ministry in one or another church. They are priests. There are saints in the Curia. And there are also some who aren’t so saintly, and these are those who make more noise.

You know that one tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows.  And this pains me when there are these things. But there are some who create scandal, some.

We have this Monsignor in jail. I think he’s still in jail. He is not in jail because he resembled Blessed Imelda. He wasn’t a Blessed. They are scandals, these, that do harm. One thing, [and] I've never said this before, but I've noticed, I think the Curia has fallen a bit from the level it once had, of those old curia men. The profile of the old curia man, faithful, who did his work. We are in need of these people.

I believe … they are there, but there are not so many as there once were. The profile of the old Curia man, I would say, is this. We must have more of these. Do I find resistance? Mah! If there is resistance, I still haven’t seen it.

It’s true that I haven’t done so many things, but I can say "yes" I have found help and I have also found loyal people. For example, I’m pleased when a person says to me "I don't agree." And I have found this. “But I don’t see this [this way], I don’t agree: I say it, you do it.” This is a true collaborator.

And I’ve found this in the curia. And this is good. But when there are those who say: “Ah, that's great, that's great, that's great,” but then say the opposite in another place. Now, I still haven't noticed. Perhaps there are some, but I haven't realized. Resistance... in four months you can’t find much.

Father Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
So, now we move on to a Brazilian woman. It seems just to me. And this is Patricia Zorzan. Maybe Izoard can come closer so that we also have a Frenchman.

Patricia Zorzan:  (Originally in Spanish)
Speaking in the name of the Brazilians, society has changed, young people have changed, and we see many young people in Brazil. You have spoken to us about abortion, matrimony between persons of the same sex. In Brazil, they have passed a law which broadens the right to abortion and has allowed marriage between persons of the same sex. Why didn’t you speak about this?

Pope Francis: (Originally in Spanish)
The Church has already expressed herself perfectly on this. It wasn’t necessary to return to it, just as I did not speak about fraud or lies or other things about which the Church has a clear doctrine.

Patricia Zorzan: (Originally in Spanish)
But it’s an issue that interests young people …

Pope Francis: (Originally in Spanish)
Yes, but it wasn’t necessary to talk about that, but about the positive things that open the way to youngsters. Isn’t that right? Also, young people know what the position of the Church is perfectly well.

Patricia Zorzan: (Originally in Spanish)
What is the position of Your Holiness, can you tell us?

Pope Francis: (Originally in Spanish)
That of the Church. I’m a child of the Church!

Father Lombardi: (Originally in Spanish)
Now. let's return to the Spanish group. Dario Menor Torres … ah, excuse me, Izoard, whom we already called up. So, we have one of the French group … and then, Dario Menor.

Antoine-Marie Izoard: (Originally in Italian)
Good day, Holiness. On behalf of the French language colleagues on the flight - there are nine of us on this flight - for a Pope that doesn't want to give interviews, truly we are grateful to you. Since March 13, you have introduced yourself as the Bishop of Rome, with very great and very strong insistence. So, we would like to understand what the profound meaning of this insistence is, if by chance more than collegiality you are perhaps talking of ecumenism, perchance, of being the primus inter pares [the first among equals] in the Church. Thank you.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
Yes, on this we don't have to go any further than what is said. The Pope is bishop, Bishop of Rome, because he is the Bishop of Rome, he is the Successor of Peter, Vicar of Christ. There are other titles, but the first title is “Bishop of Rome,” and everything comes from there. Saying, thinking that this means to say being primus inter pares, no, that isn’t a consequence of this. Simply, it is the Pope’s first title, Bishop of Rome. But there are also others … I think you said something about ecumenism: I believe this also favors ecumenism a bit. But, that’s it.

Fr.  Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
Now, Dario Menor of La Razón, of Spain.

Dario Menor Torres: (Originally in Spanish)
A question about feelings. You commented some weeks ago about that child that asked you about how it felt, if someone could imagine how you could be Pope and if you could wish for this. You said that you'd have to be crazy for that. After your first multitudinous experience, like these recent days in Rio, can you tell us how it feels to be Pope? If it is very difficult, if you are happy doing it and if, moreover, also in some way it has increased your faith or, on the contrary, if you have had any doubts? Thanks.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
Doing the work of a bishop is a beautiful thing. It's beautiful. The problem is when a person seeks that job. This is not so nice. This is not of the Lord. But when the Lord calls a priest to become bishop, this is beautiful.

There is always the danger of thinking of oneself as superior to the others, not like the others, a bit of a prince. They are dangers and sins.

But the work of a bishop is beautiful. It is helping brother to go forward. The bishop before the faithful, to show the way. The bishop among the faithful to help communion. And the bishops behind the faithful, so that the faithful may have the scent of the street. The bishop must be like this.

The question asked... whether I like it? I like being a bishop. I do. In Buenos Aires, I was so happy, so happy! I was happy. It's true. The Lord has aided me in that. But as a priest I was happy, and as a bishop I have been happy. In this sense, I say, I like it!

Question: (Originally in Italian)
And being the Pope?

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
Also, also! When the Lord puts you there, if you do what the Lord wants, you are happy. This is my sentiment, what I feel.

Fr. Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
Now another from the Italian group. Salvatore Mazza of "Avvenire."

Salvatore Mazza: (Originally in Italian)
I'm unable to stand up. I'm sorry, I can't even stand up because of all of the wires I have under my feet. We have seen in these days, we've seen you full of energy also in the late evening. We are seeing it now on the plane that's bouncing, that you are calmly on your feet, without any hesitation. We wanted to ask you, much is said of your coming trips. Asia, Jerusalem, Argentina are spoken of. Do you already have a more or less definite calendar for next year, or is it still to be seen?

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
Definite, there is nothing definite. But I can tell you something about what I'm thinking. It is definite, excuse me, September 22 [I’ll go] to Cagliari, then October 4 to Assisi. In mind, within Italy, I'd like to go see my family, one day. Going on a plane in the morning and with another because they, poor people, they call me and we have a good relationship. But [that would be] just a day.

Outside of Italy, Patriarch Bartholomew I wants to have an encounter to commemorate the 50 years of Athenagoras (5) and Paul VI in Jerusalem. Also the Israeli government has extended a special invitation [for me] to go to Jerusalem. I believe that the government of the Palestine authority [has done] the same. This is what is being thought through. It isn't known if we'll go or not.

Then, to Latin America. I don't know if there will be a possibility to return because the Latin American Pope, the first trip to Latin America… goodbye! We have to wait a bit!

I think one could go to Asia, but this is all up in the air. I've had an invitation to go to Sri Lanka and also to the Philippines. But, one has to go to Asia, because Pope Benedict didn't have time to go to Asia and it's important. He went to Australia and then to Europe and America, but Asia…

Going to Argentina, in this moment I believe that it may wait a while because all of these trips have a certain priority.

I wanted to go to Constantinople September 30 to visit Bartholomew I, but it's not possible. It's not possible because of my calendar. If we meet, we'll do so in Jerusalem.

Question: (Originally in Italian)
Fatima?

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
Fatima, there is also an invitation to Fatima. It's true, it's true. There's an invitation to go to Fatima.

Question: (Originally in Italian)
September 30 or November 30?

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
November, November. St Andrew's [Feast Day]

Fr. Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
Good. Well, now let's go back to the United States, and let's call Hada Messia of CNN to pose you a question.

Hada Messia: (Originally in Italian)
Hello … you're resisting better than me … no, no, no. OK, OK. My question is, when you met with the young Argentines, you told them, a little jokingly, maybe a bit seriously, you told them that you also sometimes feel a bit "encaged." We wanted to know what you were referring to exactly.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
You know how many times I've wanted to walk the streets of Rome, because I used to like to walk the streets of Buenos Aires. I really like it! In this sense, I feel a bit encaged. But, this I must say because these [men] from the Vatican Gendarmerie are so good. They are good, good, good men and I recognize them. Now they let me do a bit more. I think… their duty is to keep the security.

Encaged in that sense. I like to walk the streets, but I understand that it's not possible, I understand that. I said it in that sense, because my habit was, as we say in Buenos Aires, I was a priest "of the streets."

Fr. Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
Now we call again on a Brazilian, it's Marcio Campos. And I ask also Guénois to come up for the next turn, for the French.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
I was asking the time, because they have to serve dinner, but are you all hungry?

Journalists:
No, No.

Marcio Campos: ( Originally in Portuguese)
Your Holiness, Holy Father, I want to say that when you are nostalgic for Brazil, for the Brazilian people, happy, embrace the flag I've given you. I would also like to thank my colleagues from the daily Folha de São Paulo, Estado, Globo and Veja for [allowing me] to represent them with this question. Holy Father, it is difficult to accompany a Pope, very difficult. We are all tired. You are well and we are tired. In Brazil, the Catholic Church has lost faithful in these last few years. Is the Charismatic Renewal Movement a possible way to keep the faithful from frequenting the Pentecostal Church or other pentecostal churches? Thanks so much for your presence and many thanks for being with us.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
It is very true what you say about the decrease of the faithful. It is true. It is true. There are statistics. We spoke with the Brazilian bishops about the problem in a meeting we had yesterday.  You asked about the Charismatic Renewal Movement. I tell you one thing, in the years at the end of the Seventies, beginning of the Eighties, I couldn't even look at them.

Once, speaking with them, I said this phrase, "These people confuse a liturgical celebration with a samba school!" (6) I said this. I regretted it. Then I got to know them better.

It is also true that the movement, with good assessors, has gone onto a beautiful path. And now I believe that this movement is doing so much good to the Church, in general.

In Buenos Aires, I gathered them often and once a year I celebrated a Mass with all of them in the Cathedral. I always favored them, when I was “converted,” when I saw the good they did. Because in this moment of the Church - and here I'm going to stray a bit from the answer - I believe that movements are necessary.

Movements are a grace of the Spirit. "But, how can you handle a movement that is so free?" The Church is also free! The Holy Spirit does what he wants. Then, he carries out the work of harmonizing, but I believe that the movements are a grace, those movements that have the spirit of the Church.

For this, I believe that the Charismatic Renewal Movement not only serves to prevent some from passing on to the pentecostal confessions, but no! They serve the Church herself! It renews us. May everyone seek his own movement according to his charism, where the Spirit carries it.

Question from the side: (Original unregistered in Holy See Press Office Bulletin)

Pope Francis: (Originally in Spanish, then in Italian)
I am tired. I am tired.

Fr. Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
Now, Guénois of Le Figaro for the French group.

Jean-Marie Guénois: (Originally in Italian)
Holy Father, a question also from my colleague of La Croix. You said that the Church without women loses its fruitfulness. What concrete measures should she take? For instance, the female diaconate or a woman at the head of a dicastery? And a little technical questions, you said you were tired. Do you have any special set-up for your return? Thank you, Holiness.

Pope Francis: (Originally in Italian)
Let's begin with the last one. This airplane has no special set-up. I am up front, a nice chair, common, but common, what everyone has. I wrote a letter and made a phone call to say that I didn't want any special set-up on the airplane. Is that clear?

Second, the woman. A church without women is like the Apostolic College without Mary. The role of the woman in the Church is not only [of] maternity, mother of the family, but it is stronger. It is precisely the icon of the Virgin, of the Madonna, that which helps to raise the Church!

But think that the Madonna is the most important of the apostles. She's more important!

The Church is feminine, it is Church, it is spouse, it is mother. But the woman, in the Church, not only must… I don't know how to say it in Italian. The role of the woman in the Church mustn't only end as mom, worker, limited. No! It's something else. But the Popes… Paul VI wrote a beautiful things about women, but I think that we need to move further ahead in the development of this role and charism of the woman.

The Church cannot be understood without women, but active women in the Church, with their profile, that they carry forward.

I'm thinking of an example that has nothing to do with the Church, but it's an historic example in Latin America, in Paraguay. For me, the woman of Paraguay is the most glorious woman of Latin America.

After the war, (7) there remained eight women for every man. And these women made a very difficult choice, the choice to have children to save the motherland, the culture, the faith and the language.

In the Church, we must think to the woman in this perspective, of risky choices, but as women. This must be developed better.

I think that we haven't yet come up with a deep theology of the woman in the Church. [She can] only do this, only do that. Now she is an altar server, now she reads the readings, she is the president of Caritas… But there is more! We need to make a profound theology of the woman. This is what I think.

Fr. Lombardi: (Originally in Italian)
For the Spanish group, then, now we have Pablo Ordaz, of El Pais.

Pablo Ordaz: (Originally in Spanish)
We wanted to know your working relationship, not only of friendship, of collaboration with Benedict XVI. There has never been another circumstance like this one, and you have frequent contact, and he is helping you in your charge. Thank you.

Pope Francis (Originally in Spanish)
I believe that the last time there were two popes, or three popes, they didn't speak to each other. They were fighting to see who the real one was. There were up to three during the Schism of the West. There is something that …

[switches to Italian]

There is something that qualifies my relationship with Benedict. I really love him.

I have always loved him. For me, he is a man of God, a humble man, a man who prays. I was so happy when he was elected Pope. Also when he announced his resignation, it was an example of greatness for me. A great [man]. Only a great [man] can do this! A man of God and a man of prayer. He himself lives in the Vatican, and some say to me, "but how can this be done?" Two Popes in the Vatican! But doesn't he weigh you down? But doesn't he make a revolution against you? All of these things are said, right?

I found a phrase to explain this, "It's like having a grandfather at home," but a wise grandfather. When the grandfather is at home in a family, he is venerated, he is loved, he is listened to. He is a man of a prudence! He isn’t muscling in.

I have told him so many times, "Holiness, receive [guests], go about your life, come with us." He came for the inauguration and the blessing of the statue of St. Michael.

There it is, the phrase says it all. For me, it's like having a grandfather at home, my father.

If I were to have a difficulty or [if there is] something I haven't understood, I would call [and ask], "But, tell me, can I do that?"

And when I went to speak about that huge problem, of Vatileaks, he told me everything with a simplicity… in service. It is something that I don't know if you know, I think so, but I'm not sure. When he spoke to us in his farewell speech the 28th of February, he told us, "Among you is the next Pope, I promise him obedience." But, he is a great [man], this is a great [man]!

Fr. Lombardi (originally in Italian)
Well, now we give the floor to yet another Brazilian, Anna Ferreira. And then come closer also Gian Guido Vecchi for Italian.

Anna Ferreira: (originally in Italian)
Holy Father, good evening. Thank you. I would like to say "thank you" so many times. Thanks for having brought so much joy to Brazil. And, thanks also for responding to our questions. We journalists really love to ask questions. I would like to know why yesterday you told the Brazilian bishops of the participation of the women in our Church. I would like to understand better, how should this participation of us women in the Church be? If you... what you think also of the ordination of women [as priests]? What should our position in the Church be?

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
I would like to explain a bit about what I said about the participation of women in the Church. You cannot be limited to the fact of being an altar server or the president of Caritas, the catechist … No! It must be more, but profoundly more, also mystically more, with this that I said about the theology of the woman.

And, with reference to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says, "No." John Paul II said it, but with a definitive formulation. That is closed, that door.

But on this I wanted to tell you something. I have said it [already], but I repeat it. Our Lady, Mary, was the most important of the Apostles, of the bishops and deacons and priests.

The woman, in the Church, is more important than the bishops and priests. How, is what we have to try to develop it better, because I think there is a lack of a theological development of this. Thanks.

Fr. Lombardi: (originally in Italian)
Gian Guido Vecchi, of Corriere della Sera. I ask that Mrs. Pigozzi come up and Nicole, then, after.

Gian Guido Vecchi: (originally in Italian)
Holy Father, also on this trip you have spoken many times about mercy. About the access to the sacraments for those divorced and remarried, does the possibility exist that something might change in the discipline of the Church, that these sacraments are an occasion to bring these people closer rather than a barrier that separates them from other faithful?

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
This is a subject that is always asked about. Mercy is greater than that case that you pose. I believe that this is a time of mercy. [During ] this change of epoch, [there are] also so many problems of the Church like the not good witness of some priests, also the problems of corruption in the Church, also the problem of clericalism, to make an example, have left so many wounded, so many wounded.

And the Church is mother, she must go out and heal the wounded, with mercy.

But if the Lord doesn't tire of forgiving, we don't have any other choice than this, first of all, to heal the wounded. She is a mother, the Church, and she must go out onto this street of mercy and find a mercy for all. But, I think, when the prodigal son returned home, the father didn't say to him, "Hey you, take a seat. What did you do with the money?" No! He threw a party! Then, maybe, when the son wanted to speak, he spoke.

The Church must do this. When there is someone… [but] not just waiting for them, going out and finding them! This is mercy.

And I believe that this is a kairós. (8) This time is a kairós of mercy. But this is the first intuition that John paul II had, when he began the Divine Mercy with Faustina Kowalska. He had something. He had intuited that there was a necessity for this time.

About the problem of Communion to those persons in a second union, that the divorced might participate in Communion, there is no problem. When they are in a second union, they can't.

I believe that it is necessary to keep this within the entirety of pastoral care of marriage. And for this it is a problem. But also... a parenthesis, the Orthodox have a different praxis. They follow the theology of economy, as they called it, and they give a second chance, they allow it. But I believe that this problem, and I close the parenthesis, must be studied in the framework of marriage pastoral ministry.

And for this, two things: first, one of the themes to be consulted with the eight of this council of cardinals, with whom we'll be meeting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of October, is how to move ahead in the pastoral care of marriage, and this problem will come up there.

And, a second thing, the secretary of the Synod of Bishops was with me 15 days ago for the theme of the next Synod. It was an anthropological theme, but speaking and speaking again, coming and going, we have seen this anthropological theme, the faith, how it helps the planning of the person, but in the family, and going then on to the pastoral care of marriage.

We are on the path for a more profound pastoral care of marriage. And, this is a problem for all, because there are so many, right? For instance, I'll tell you of just one, Cardinal Quarracino, (9) my predecessor, said that for him half of all marriages are null. That's what he said. Why? Because they are married without maturity, they get married without realizing that it's for an entire lifetime, or they are married because socially they must get married.

And in this also pastoral care of marriage is a factor. And also the judicial problem of the nullity of marriage, that must be revisited, because the ecclesiastical courts aren't enough for this.

It is complex, the problem of the pastoral care of marriage. Thank you.

Fr. Lombardi: (originally in Italian)
Thank you. So, now we have Mrs. Pigozzi who is from Paris Match. Again, it's the French group.

Carolina Pigozzi: (originally in Italian)
Good evening, Holy Father. I would like to know if you, since you've been Pope, still feel Jesuit.

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
It's a theological question, because Jesuits make a vow to obey the Pope. But if the Pope is a Jesuit, maybe he must make a vow to obey the [Father] General of the Jesuits. I don't know how this is resolved.

I feel Jesuit in my spirituality, in the spirituality of the Exercises, the spirituality, that which I have in my heart. I feel this so much that in three days I'm going to celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius with the Jesuits. I will say Mass in the morning.

I haven’t changed my spirituality, no. Francis, Franciscan, no. I feel Jesuit and I think like a Jesuit. Not hypocritically, but I think like a Jesuit. Thank you.

Fr. Lombardi: (originally in Italian)
If you are still able, there are still some questions. Now, Nicole Winfield, of the Associated Press, and there are … but there wasn’t … well, I had a list and here really, I thought you had organized yourselves... Well, alright, Elisabetta, put yourself on the list as well, excuse me.

Nicole Winfield: (originally in Italian)
Holiness, thanks again for having come “amongst the lions.” Holiness, at the fourth month mark of your pontificate, I wanted to ask you to make a little assessment. Can you tell us what the best thing about being Pope is, an anecdote, and what is the worst thing, and what has surprised you most in this period?

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
Well I don’t know how to respond to this, really. Big things, there haven’t been big things. Beautiful things, yes.

For example, the encounter with the Italian bishops was so beautiful, so beautiful. As bishop of the capital of Italy, I felt at home with them. And that was nice, but I don’t know if it was the best.

Also a painful thing, but which entered quite deeply into my heart, the visit to Lampedusa. But that was worthy of crying, it did me good. But when these boats arrive and leave them some miles from the coast and they must, with the boat, arrive alone... This was painful for me because I think that these people are the victims of a world socio-economic system.

But the worst thing, excuse me, that has come my way is [a case of] Sciatica – honestly! That I had the first month because to hold interviews I sat on a throne and this did me a bit of damage. It’s a really, really painful Sciatica! I don’t wish that on anyone!

But these things, speaking with people, the encounter with seminarians and religious was great. it was really beautiful. Also, the encounter with the students from the Jesuit schools was wonderful. Good things.

Question: (Originally in Italian)
What was the thing that surprised you the most?

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
The people, the people. The good people that I have found. I’ve found so many good people in the Vatican. I thought about what to say, but that is true. I render justice, saying this, [there are] so many good people. So many good people, so many good people, but really, really, really good.

Fr. Lombardi: (originally in Italian)
Elisabetta, but you know her and also Sergio Rubin. Maybe he can come up, so we have the Argentinians.

Elisabetta Piqué: (originally in Spanish)
Pope Francis, first of all in the name of the 50,000 Argentinean pilgrims I found there, and they said, “you are going to be traveling with the Pope, please tell him it was fantastic, stupendous, ask him when he is going to travel.” But, you already said you aren’t going to travel [to Argentina] … So, I’m going to ask you a more difficult question. Were you scared when you saw the “Vatileaks” report?

Pope Francis: (originally in Spanish)
No. I’m going to tell you an anecdote about the “Vatileaks” report. When I went to see Pope Benedict, after praying in the chapel we went to his studio and I saw a big box and a thick envelope. Benedict... Excuse me.

[switches to Italian]

Benedict told me, he said to me, “In this big box are all of the declarations, the things the witnesses said. It’s all there. But the summary and the final judgment are in this envelope. And here it says this and this and this...” He had it all in his head! But what intelligence! Everything memorized, everything! But no, [words aside in Spanish] I wasn’t scared, no. No, no. But it is a big problem, eh. But I wasn’t afraid.

Sergio Rubin: (originally in Spanish)
Holiness, two little things. This is the first, you really insisted on holding back the loss of the faithful. In Brazil you were really strong. Are you hopeful that this trip might contribute to bringing many people back to the Church, that they feel closer? And, the second, and more informal, you really liked Argentina, and you carried Buenos Aires deep within your heart. Argentinians are asking themselves if you don’t miss Buenos Aires, which you went all over in shared taxis, in minibus, you went out in the streets. Many thanks.

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
I think that a papal trip is always good. And I believe that this will be good for Brazil, but not just the presence of the Pope, but that which was accomplished during this World Youth Day. They were mobilized and it will do them really well. Perhaps they will really help the Church.

But these faithful that have gone away, so many are unhappy because they feel like they [still] belong to the Church. I think this will be positive, not only for the trip, but especially for the Day. The Day was a marvelous event. And of Buenos Aires, yes, sometimes I miss it. And that is felt. But, it is a serene missing, a serene missing, a serene missing. But I think that you, Sergio, might know me better than all the others. You can respond to this question with the book you wrote!

Fr. Lombardi: (originally in Italian)
Now, we have the Russian and then there was Valentina, who was the dean, who wanted to close.

Alexey Bukalov: (originally in Italian)
Good evening, Holy Father. Holy Father, returning to ecumenism. Today, the Orthodox celebrate 1,025 years of Christianity. There are many big celebrations in many capitals. If you’d like to make a comment on this fact, I would be happy with that. Thanks.

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
In the Orthodox Churches, they have conserved that pristine liturgy, so beautiful. We have lost a bit of the sense of adoration. They conserve it. They praise God, they adore God, they sing, time doesn’t matter. The center is God, and this is a wealth that I would like to speak about on this occasion in which you have asked me this question.

Once, speaking of the Western Church, of Western Europe, especially the Church that has grown most, this phrase was said to me, “Lux ex oriente, ex occidente luxus.” [Light comes from the East; luxuriousness comes from the West].

Consumerism, well-being, have done so much harm to us. But you conserve this beauty of God at the center, the reference point.

When you read Dostoyevsky – I think that for every one of us he should be an author to read and reread because he has a [great] wisdom – that Russian soul is perceived, the eastern soul. It is something that will be very good for us.

We need this renewal, this fresh air from the East, this light from the East. John Paul II wrote this in his Letter. But so many time the “luxus” of the West makes us lose our bearings. I don’t know, that is what comes to me to say. Thanks.
Fr. Lombardi: (originally in Italian)
And now, we’ll close with Valentina who, just as she began on the flight out, now she’ll close on the return flight.

Valentina Alazraki: (originally in Spanish)
Holiness, thank you for having kept your promise to respond to our questions on the return...

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
I’ve delayed your supper …

Valentina Alazraki: (originally in Spanish)
It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter... The serious question, well, from all of the Mexicans. When are you going to Guadalupe? But, that’s from the Mexicans. My serious one, you are going to canonize two great Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II. I would like to know which one, according to you, is the model of holiness that comes from one and from the other; and the impact that they have had on the Church and on you.

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
John XXIII is somewhat the figure of the “country priest,” the priest who loves every one of the faithful, who knows how to heal the faithful and this he did as a bishop, as nuncio. How many false baptismal certificates he made in Turkey in favor of the Jews!

He was courageous, a good country priest, with such a great, great sense of humor and a great holiness.

When he was nuncio, some in the Vatican didn’t love him much and when he arrived to bring things or make inquiries, in some of the offices they made him wait. He never complained. He prayed the rosary. He read the Breviary. Never. A meek man, a humble man, also one who was concerned for the poor.

When Cardinal Casaroli (9) came back from a mission, I believe in Hungary or in what was then Czechoslovakia, I don’t recall which, he went to him to explain his mission. At that time, it was the diplomacy of “small steps.” And they had an audience - 20 days later, John XXIII would die - and while Casaroli was leaving, he stopped him. “Ah, Eminence - no, he wasn’t Eminence - Excellency, a question, are you still going out to the young people?” because Casaroli went to the juvenile jail of Casal del Marmo and played with them, and Casaroli said, “Yes, yes!” “Never abandon them.” This to a diplomat, who arrived from having carried out a diplomatic mission, a really hard trip, and John XXIII tells him, “Never abandon the kids.”

But he was a great man, a great man!

Then there’s the Council. He was a man docile to the voice of God, because that came to him from the Holy Spirit. It came to him and he was docile. Pius XII thought about doing it, but the circumstances weren’t ripe to do it. I believe that this [John XXIII] hadn’t thought about the circumstances. He felt that and he did it. A man who was guided by the Lord.

Of John Paul II, it comes to me to say “the great missionary of the Church.” He was a missionary. He was a missionary, a man who brought the Gospel everywhere. You know better than me. But how many trips have you taken? [And,] did he ever go!

He felt this fire of bring forward the Word of the Lord. He is a Paul. He is a St. Paul. He is a man like this. For me, he is a great.

And celebrating the canonization ceremony of both of them together I think will be a message to the Church. These two are good. They are good. They are two good [men].

But there is also the cause of Paul VI in progress and also of Pope Luciani. These two are in progress. But, one other thing that I think I have said, but I don’t know if here or elsewhere, the date of canonization.

We were thinking of December 8 of this year, but there’s a big problem. Those who are coming from Poland, the poor - because those who have the means can come by plane - but those who come, the poor, come by bus and already in December the roads are icy and I think the date must be reconsidered.

I have spoken with Cardinal Dziwisz and he suggested two possibilities to me, either Christ the King of this year or Divine Mercy Sunday of next year, because the consistory will be September 30th and at the end of October there is little time, but I don’t know. I have to talk with Cardinal Amato about this. But, I believe that it won’t be December 8.

Question: (originally in Italian)
But, will they be canonized together?

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
Both of them together, yes.

Fr. Lombardi: (originally in Italian)
Thank you, Holiness. Who is there still? Ilze? Then we have done all of them, even more than those who were signed up before …

Ilze Scamparini: (originally in Italian)
I would like to ask your permission to pose a question that’s a bit delicate. Also another image went around the world, which was that of Monsignor Ricca and of the news of his private life. I would like to know, Holiness, what do you intend to do about this question? How will this question be confronted and how does Your Holiness intend to confront the question of the gay lobby?

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
[For] that of Monsignor Ricca, I did what the Canon Law requires and did the preliminary investigation.  And from this investigation, there is nothing of that which he is accused.  We haven’t found any of that.  This is the answer. 

But I would like to add one more thing on this. I see that so many times in the Church, separately from this case and also in this case, the "sins of youth" are sought out, for example, and then these things are published. [These are] not crimes, eh.  Crimes are something else. The abuse of minors is a crime. No, sins. But, if a person, lay or priest or sister, has committed a sin and then has repented, the Lord forgives. And when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives. 

When we go to confession and we truly say, “I have sinned in this,” the Lord forgets and we do not have the right not to forget because we run the risk that the Lord will not forget our [sins]. This is a danger. This is important, a theology of sin.  So many times I think of St. Peter. He committed one of the worst sins, that of denying Christ.  And with this sin, they made him Pope. We must think much.

But returning to your more concrete question, in this case I carried out the preliminary investigation and we didn’t find [anything]. 

That is the first question. Then you spoke of the gay lobby. Mah! So much is written about the gay lobby.  I have yet to find anyone who can give me a Vatican identity card with “gay” [written on it]. They say they are there. I think that when you encounter a person like this, you must make a distinction between the fact of a person being gay from the fact of being a lobby, because lobbies, all are not good. That is bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, well who am I to judge them? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a very beautiful way, but says, wait a moment, how do you say... it says, [that] these persons must not be marginalized for this, they must be integrated into society.”

The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers, because this is one, but there is another, another [problem]. The problem is forming a lobby of this tendency, a lobby of the greedy, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of Masons, so many lobbies.  This is the gravest problem for me. And thank you so much for asking this question. Thank you very much!

Fr. Lombardi: (originally in Italian)
Thank you. It seems that more than this couldn’t be done. We have even abused of the Pope who told his that he was a little tired and we wish for him that he can rest a bit now.

Pope Francis: (originally in Italian)
Thanks to you, and goodnight. Have a good trip and a good rest.

Endnotes:

1). Our Lady of Aparecida (literally, the Appeared one) is the most popular Marian devotion in Brazil. The town of Aparecida, located between Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo, was visited by Pope Francis on July 23th, 2013.

2). Most Reverend Orani João Tempesta, O. Cist. is the current Metropolitan Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro since April 19, 2009.

3). An apostolic letter written by and signed by the Pope, in this case he is referring to his chirograph signed on June 24, 2013, creating a commission to reform the Institute for Religious Works (IOR,) popularly known as the “Vatican Bank.”

4). APSA is the Italian acronym for the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See.

5). Athenagoras I was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (highiest authority of the Greek Orthodox church) from 1948 to 1972. His meeting with Pope Paul VI in 1964 in Jerusalem led to rescinding the excommunications of 1054 which marked the schism between the Catholic and the Orthodox church.

6). A samba school (Portuguese: Escola de samba) is a dancing school that perform elaborated, highly festive choreographies at the rhythm of African American music they rehearse throughout the year to perform at the yearly carnival.

7). Pope Francis refers to the military conflict between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay (1864 to 1870,) which caused 390,000 deaths, the highest rate of fatalities related to the number of combatants of any war in modern history. It particularly devastated Paraguay: 9 out of 10 of adult males died or were severely handicapped.

8). Pope Francis refers to the military conflict between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay (1864 to 1870,) which caused 390,000 deaths, the highest rate of fatalities related to the number of combatants of any war in modern history. It particularly devastated Paraguay: 9 out of 10 of adult males died or were severely handicapped.

9). Cardinal Antonio Quarracino (8 August 1923 – 28 February 1998) preceded Cardinal Bergoglio as Archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina;) and was also Pope Francis’ mentor.

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Use media to spread Gospel, Catholic Voices head says

Napa Valley, Calif., Aug 5, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Catholics should see the secular media as an opportunity to evangelize and more effectively reach “people who need heroes and need the Gospel,” said the head of a Catholic communications organization.

“Look to media as an apostolic opportunity. Call reporters, be their friends. Let them in on the Gospel,” said Kathryn Jean Lopez, director of Catholic Voices USA. “You don’t have to agree with everything they say or get them converted on day one. Have some patience. Respect their freedom. Share the truth. Be for real.”

“I know it is remarkably tempting to complain about the media, to see what is wrong. But oftentimes the coverage is hostile because hosts, reporters, producers, don’t know about Catholicism, they may know that bad experience, or their bad catechesis, or a caricature,” she said.

Lopez’s comments came Aug. 3 at the 2013 Napa Institute Conference in Napa, Calif. The annual conference brings together Catholic leaders from around the country – including bishops, religious, educators and laypeople – to discuss how to build Catholic culture in a secular society.

In addition to being editor-at-large of National Review Online, Lopez serves as director of Catholic Voices USA, helping prepare Catholics to speak effectively in media and public life.
 
She offered several tips for responding to criticism and controversy about the Catholic faith.

“Look for the positive intention behind the criticism,” she advised. “There’s often a Christian value to appeal to. Speak to it.”

She advised Catholic communicators to “shed light, not heat,” and to help “open doors to the sacraments.”

“People won’t remember what you said as much as how you made them feel,” she stressed.

In addition to concise speech that “speaks to the heart with solid content,” modern media includes the ability to use “images and video that capture attention like words don’t.”

Lopez also emphasized the importance of storytelling in sharing the faith, saying it is “one of the best things you can do to get people listening.”

“It’s not about you. It’s about Christ. That can actually be tremendously liberating,” she said. “God must increase, I must decrease.”

“We have to be willing to walk with people where they are, showing them Catholicism in its fullness. Show joy and sacrifice and rigor too. Be for real, making clear that we live in the real world.”

It is important to remember that the cultural mainstream views God and religion as only a “safe harbor,” a consolation for the dead and the sick but not something that should be “infecting other areas of life,” she said.

“The media keeps people from dreaming, from sacrificing, from serving, from believing they matter all that much beyond their desires,” she explained. “We need to encourage creative people to write better scripts, to tell uplifting redemptive stories. We need people to turn on TVs and open books and not wallow in someone else’s misery to escape theirs but to want to be better and to seek out entertainment that will help them on that journey.”

Lopez said it is an “injustice” to the general public, students, colleagues, friends and the faithful if Catholics’ communications are “anything other than an apostolic endeavor.”

At the same time, she warned that Catholics’ communications efforts “are only going to be as good as our souls.”

“(W)oe to anyone attempting to make the case for the Church in the public square who isn’t going to confession regularly, daily Mass as often as possible, and serious about prayer,” she said, cautioning that the constant activity of media life tempts people to live “without sacramental grace and without contemplation.”

“It’s so easy for a ‘professional Catholic’ to lose his or her soul. Or to fall and lose other souls in the scandal,” she explained. “Redemption stories tend not to make news.”

Lopez also noted an air of “mourning” in contemporary life among people who feel they are losing something or because of a lack of something that makes them often seek love “in all the wrong places.”

“We need to bear in mind the mourning of those we disagree with, the pain they carry. Not to make compromises but to open doors so that their hearts might be open to what Catholicism offers,” she said.

Whether in news appearances, outside of church, at the local bar, or in family life, Catholics should welcome the opportunities to discuss their faith, she said, stressing that “this is our gospel mandate, to let people know what is worth living and dying for.”

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Apr
23

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
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Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »

Saint
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

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